lexlingua: (Reading)

"If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."

~ Mark Twain
lexlingua: (Reading)

Come to the edge, he said.

They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, he said.

They came. He pushed them...

... And they flew.
"

~ Guillaume Apollinaire.
lexlingua: (WHAT!?)

Horoscopes, how much do you believe in them?

Yesterday, a popular astologer in a magazine said I would lose something. I spent the whole of that day worrying that I was forgetting something, maybe my prized iPad would get stolen, my important office docs would go missing due to a technical snag, maybe I would lose contact with an old friend. The possibilities of loss are as endless as that of gain. Guess what, I spent the whole day -- not by choice, though, I must clarify -- cooped in worry at my desk in the office (and it was a particularly long day too). So what did I really lose? My peace of mind, what else? Like one of Macbeth's witches, my horoscope became a self- prophesying disaster.

Its not a new question, really. How much should you or can you rely on horoscopes, answers ranging from never at all to frequently, even on a daily basis. To all of that, a cautionary disclaimer is added by horoscope authors that a lot depends on your "natal" or birth charts. As an Indian, astrology is particularly relevant to me, since so many of our parents rely on the "kundali" for marriages (marriages are made in heaven), and those, from what I understand, rely heavily on natal charts and rising stars and what not. But for popular ("pop") horoscopes -- i.e. the horoscopes that are generally published in newspapers and magazines -- how does one measure their unpredictability or reliability? How precise is the science of astrology? It is a "science" after all. Right?

Read more... )

lexlingua: (Reading)

"... The strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time — filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured."


~ John Koenig, about his work, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
lexlingua: (Reading)

The Pursuit of the Ideal


"What is clear is that values can clash that is why civilizations are incompatible. They can be incompatible between cultures, or groups in the same culture, or between you and me.  You believe in always telling the truth, no matter what; I do not because I believe that it can sometimes be too painful and too destructive.  We can discuss each other’s point of view, we can try to reach common ground, but in the end what you pursue may not be reconcilable with the ends to which I find that I have dedicated my life. Values may easily clash within the breast of a single individual; and it does not follow that, if they do, some must be true and others false.  Justice, rigorous justice, is for some people an absolute value, but it is not compatible with what may be no less ultimate values for them mercy, compassion as arises in concrete cases.

Both liberty and equality are among the primary goals pursued by human beings through many centuries; but total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs, total liberty of the powerful, the gifted, is not compatible with the rights to a decent existence of the weak and the less gifted.  Equality may demand the restraint of the liberty of those who wish to dominate; liberty without some modicum of which there is no choice and therefore no possibility of remaining human as we understand the word may have to be curtailed in order to make room for social welfare, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to leave room for the liberty of others, to allow justice or fairness to be exercised.

The notion of the perfect whole, the ultimate solution, in which all good things coexist, seems to me to be not merely unattainable that is a truism but conceptually incoherent; I do not know what is meant by a harmony of this kind.  Some among the Great Goods cannot live together.  That is a conceptual truth. We are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss. These collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are."


~ Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher (1909-1997) in The Crooked Timber of Humanity 1988
lexlingua: (Reading)
Here's why we need to rethink our waste problem:Image under the Cut... )

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